Republicans: The Virtue of Realism

 

As I sat down to type my nth comment defending the Republican Party against claims that it is useless, has accomplished nothing, and needs to be abandoned, I decided to write a post about it instead.

If the Republican Party were a monarchy, it could announce its intentions and its loyal subjects would fall in line and march as ordered. As king, the Republican Party could use its fiat power to declare that the things it claims to support and believe in — American exceptionalism, limited government, free markets, a strong military, and the Constitution — were sacrosanct; the Party’s subjects would dutifully vote for the Party and elect its candidates.

But that isn’t how political parties work. They may lead a little, but mostly they seek to attract voters who are generally sympathetic to the party’s positions. The party doesn’t tell the people what to want, but rather tries to convince the people that the party is the best vehicle through which the people can move their own agendas forward.

We have two viable political parties. One, the Republican Party, espouses those ideas mentioned above, of limited government and traditional order; the other has a far more expansive view of the role of government, and places little value on tradition. One, the Republican Party, is dominated by a large center-right contingent that is rarely sufficiently ideological to please its more right-leaning members; the other is increasingly dominated by a hard-left radical fringe that more and more alienates its larger center-left membership.

There is no practical alternative to one of those two parties, nor will one arise in the near future. It’s important that conservatives understand this: There is no path to a successful conservative alternative to the Republican Party that does not pass through huge and sustained Democrat victories at the national level.

This is true because we live in a strongly left-leaning media space, one that reaches most Americans on a daily basis through mainstream media and social networks almost all of which are relentlessly and increasingly dishonest and biased. Any attempt to create a conservative alternative to the Republican Party would be met with glee on the left, which would correctly recognize an opportunity to confuse, mislead, and divide the conservative electorate and prevent either conservative party from achieving a viable majority. This should be obvious to anyone who gives it even a moment’s thought.

The parties exist to get their candidates elected. They attempt to do this by attracting members and supporters who agree more with their positions than with the other party’s positions. Since most Americans are neither far-right nor far-left, each party has to try to appeal to a substantial portion of the electorate closer to the middle of the political bell curve. That means that neither party can be “purist,” in the sense of taking a strong ideological stand that is at odds with a large majority of the electorate.

Conservatives have an advantage at the moment in that the Democratic Party is increasingly being directed by hard-left extremists, and it has become difficult for even a complicit mainstream media to hide that. Now is a good time for the Republican Party to reach out to an electorate increasingly disenchanted by the left’s excesses. The greater the electoral advantage the Republican Party has, the more it can safely put forward candidates who represent the Party’s more conservative positions. We should be working to increase participation in the Republican Party by pointing out what the Party represents and how that contrasts with the progressive left’s agenda. This should be a moment to build up the Republican Party, not tear it down.

If the Republican Party has not been conservative enough for my tastes, I think that has more to do with the electorate than with the Party. The Party has to strike a balance between ideology and relevance: it has to get its candidates elected, and that means competing in the large center of America’s political space. Our goal should be to increase the Party’s electoral margins, so that it can put forth conservative candidates who can be confident of broad support, and so that we can afford to choose candidates a little further to the right without fear of losing critical moderate votes.

There is no ultimate victory here. The battle between conservatism and radicalism never ends. America will never be as conservative a nation as I want her to be. The Republican Party will never be as conservative as I am — not in my lifetime, anyway, not while remaining politically viable.

But the Republican Party is the only political platform that can successfully oppose the left. Criticize it sensibly. Encourage it to embrace the best of the Trump experience and to welcome those who saw in him something missing in American politics. Push the party to live up to its own stated vision. But don’t abandon it or run it into the ground. We are seeing right now what the alternative looks like.

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  1. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Flicker (View Comment):
    But I think I did see a quote of someone in the government that we should lower our expectations; it might have been Psaki.

    Sure.  We should lower our expectations.  I doubt they are going to lower theirs.

    • #151
  2. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Flicker (View Comment):

    I don’t know that she actually said it.  She did snarfle at the thought of people not getting their dishwashers, refrigerators and specifically their exercise bikes on time.  But I think I did see a quote of someone in the government that we should lower our expectations; it might have been Psaki.

    Pshe is the psort of pserson who would have psaid psomething like that.

    • #152
  3. Tyrion Lannister Inactive
    Tyrion Lannister
    @TyrionLannister

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Tyrion Lannister (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):
    Pretty pathetic that the swedish parties had the cojones to prevent a minimum wage yet the free market preaching conservative party in the US can’t cut a dime in any federal agency. Don’t you think?

    Preach it, brother.

    Or, better yet, tell us what — other than tearing down the conservative party — you think we should be doing. Your negative comments are wonderfully specific. Do you have similarly specific positive suggestions?

    Henry you didn’t ask me, but the best I have:

    We need a contract with America which would be installed with a Article 5 convention. Democrats control cities and high population states, and we have an even split nationwide in reps- but- Republicans dominate the majority of states – and state legislatures. Article 5 allows for two ways to amend the constitution, 2/3 vote in house and senate to propose an amendment , or 2/3 of state legislatures proposing at a convention. Then it has to be voted on by 3/4 the states (38).

    We nominate Republicans committed to the vote, and ram our proposed amendments through at the convention. Then later they are voted on by the states. We need to control 38 states, currently we have 61/100 chambers so we’d need at least 14 more. We should get closer with the coming red wave in 2022.

    My proposed amendments:

    1- repeal 17th amendment to give power back to states.

    2- ban all federal and state unions.

    3- balanced budget amendment indexed to income from prior year

    4- flat tax rate

    5- reduce the power of President executive orders

    6- eliminate several departments (education)

    7- ban crt in public schools

    TL,

    I appreciate your concrete, specific suggestion.

    I’m agnostic about Article 5 conventions because I see them as an opportunity for the left to ram through its own noxious agenda. Whether or not a convention could be kept focused is legally debatable. When one was in the offing, I assume the left would use all of its media power to call for participation by leftist special interests.

    Of course, it would still have to go though ratification by the states. So there’s that protection.

    But I wonder: could we make substantial progress through more conventional means? I mean, if we’re going to educate enough people to endorse an Article 5 convention, would that level of effort be sufficient to flip a few states and empower a serious Republican majority?

    I kind of think it might.

    The left needs a majority of states to ram anything through which they are far from getting.  We are closer because we control the states.  That’s our advantage and we need to use it.  

    • #153
  4. Tyrion Lannister Inactive
    Tyrion Lannister
    @TyrionLannister

    Frankly, if we could control enough states, we could do whatever we wanted at all levels of government, even with a 50/50 population split.  Imagine if all Republicans left California (screw that lost cause they can have that hell-hole) and turned 5 other states red.  We could rule the country as if we had supermajority while having half the population.

    Edit: I’m having a fever dream I guess.

    • #154
  5. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):
    Ok, where are the Republicans on holding onto Reagan and Trump Democrats?

    Are you a Republican? If so, what are you doing to try to hold on to Reagan and Trump Democrats?

    I guess I’m not a member of the Republican party you advocate for, because you don’t even have the temerity to answer my question.

    KC, I was trying to answer your question, but I guess I was a little oblique.

    My point is that “the Republicans” are all of us who are Republicans. I can tell you what I’m doing — I’m a Republican — to hold on to the Reagan and Trump Democrats. I don’t know how the Party, as an institution, goes about trying to reach out. I have some thoughts about how we can, as individuals, do that.

    I posted recently about unity, about the need to welcome people who agree with us in important particulars into the tent. I think that’s important. We have to stop attacking people for being enthusiastic Trump supporters. We have to stop attacking people for thinking that Trump was damaging. (What we do with those who actively supported Democrats is another matter.)

    In my opinion, conservatives should register Republican. If they’re independent, they should change their votes to Republican so that they can help pull the party to the right.

    Some Republican candidates are actually doing exactly what you describe: trying to appeal to the Trump voters. They’re doing it by embracing Trump policies while not necessarily endorsing Trump himself. In some voting areas, being too obviously pro-Trump is problematic, even as people appreciate what Trump’s policies accomplished. This is particularly true in areas with large numbers of black voters: this demographic supports Biden more than any other, and yet arguably benefited the most from Trump’s policies. Emphasizing policy agreement while avoiding aligning too closely with President Trump makes sense for these electoral markets.

    I think we Republicans attract those non-traditional Trump voters by recognizing that there’s a need being unmet. Encourage the Republican Party to take a hard stance against illegal immigration and unfair Chinese trade practices. Let American small businesses know that there’s a place for them in the Republican tent. These businesses were savaged by our miserable national response to the Wuhan coronavirus; President Trump and Republican governors called for a return to normal, despite Democratic opposition. Beat that drum, and let Americans know that red states (Republican states) led the way in restoring normalcy. Vaccine mandates and shutdowns aren’t popular. Make that work for us.

    • #155
  6. GlenEisenhardt Coolidge
    GlenEisenhardt
    @GlenEisenhardt

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    here was not for segregation: it is returning now

    If you think some race obsessed losers in progressive colleges making “minority only spaces” for people is anything compared to white and black water fountains, bathrooms, restaurants, public transportation etc. then you fundamentally aren’t serious.

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    socialism is the new darling of the American left.

    The left is hardly socialist. Bernie Sanders and AOC are socialist. They would nationalize industries if they could but they are 2 votes in Congress and there aren’t many more behind them. The Democrat party doesn’t need to socialize anything. Major industry already belongs to them and promulgates their world view. What the left is for is increased welfare benefits from healthcare to universal basic income. And corporate America wouldn’t exactly be against it from everything I’ve seen.  

    • #156
  7. GlenEisenhardt Coolidge
    GlenEisenhardt
    @GlenEisenhardt

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    other than tearing down the conservative party

    They aren’t a conservative party. They conserve nothing. Calling them conservative is as ridiculous as when the left calls them white nationalists. Just like they haven’t fought to conserve anything they haven’t fought to impose white nationalism. What they are is corporatist bootlickers and humiliated progressives who are slightly less progressive than the actual progressives. Today they fight to keep social security solvent and protect the liberalism of the New Deal. They want to conserve FDRs programs and in almost 100 years haven’t had the guts to tear down anything the progressive left have built. They end up adopting the left’s programs and say we will make them lean and mean. We are the better stewards of big government. Call that whatever you want but it isn’t conservatism. 

    • #157
  8. KCVolunteer Lincoln
    KCVolunteer
    @KCVolunteer

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    KCVolunteer (View Comment):

    Some Republican candidates are actually doing exactly what you describe: trying to appeal to the Trump voters. They’re doing it by embracing Trump policies while not necessarily endorsing Trump himself. In some voting areas, being too obviously pro-Trump is problematic, even as people appreciate what Trump’s policies accomplished. This is particularly true in areas with large numbers of black voters: this demographic supports Biden more than any other, and yet arguably benefited the most from Trump’s policies. Emphasizing policy agreement while avoiding aligning too closely with President Trump makes sense for these electoral markets.

    Your response is the most substantive thing you’ve written so far. Those thoughts are what the GOP needs to hear. They need to understand that people are serious about how we feel about their failings. I do disagree with you on the above. Trump went to some of these areas and did get more black voters than any Republican in recent memory. And maybe a Republican can’t win in they districts, but if they reach out to these areas, they can make a difference, because they did see Trump made a difference for them.

    • #158
  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Tyrion Lannister (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):
    Pretty pathetic that the swedish parties had the cojones to prevent a minimum wage yet the free market preaching conservative party in the US can’t cut a dime in any federal agency. Don’t you think?

    Preach it, brother.

    Or, better yet, tell us what — other than tearing down the conservative party — you think we should be doing. Your negative comments are wonderfully specific. Do you have similarly specific positive suggestions?

    Henry you didn’t ask me, but the best I have:

    We need a contract with America which would be installed with a Article 5 convention. Democrats control cities and high population states, and we have an even split nationwide in reps- but- Republicans dominate the majority of states – and state legislatures. Article 5 allows for two ways to amend the constitution, 2/3 vote in house and senate to propose an amendment , or 2/3 of state legislatures proposing at a convention. Then it has to be voted on by 3/4 the states (38).

    We nominate Republicans committed to the vote, and ram our proposed amendments through at the convention. Then later they are voted on by the states. We need to control 38 states, currently we have 61/100 chambers so we’d need at least 14 more. We should get closer with the coming red wave in 2022.

    My proposed amendments:

    1- repeal 17th amendment to give power back to states.

    2- ban all federal and state unions.

    3- balanced budget amendment indexed to income from prior year

    4- flat tax rate

    5- reduce the power of President executive orders

    6- eliminate several departments (education)

    7- ban crt in public schools

    Clarify that Congress cannot give away its legislative power to the executive. 

    Ban Wicker

    • #159
  10. BDB Coolidge
    BDB
    @BDB

    Tyrion Lannister (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):
    Pretty pathetic that the swedish parties had the cojones to prevent a minimum wage yet the free market preaching conservative party in the US can’t cut a dime in any federal agency. Don’t you think?

    Preach it, brother.

    Or, better yet, tell us what — other than tearing down the conservative party — you think we should be doing. Your negative comments are wonderfully specific. Do you have similarly specific positive suggestions?

    Henry you didn’t ask me, but the best I have:

    We need a contract with America which would be installed with a Article 5 convention. Democrats control cities and high population states, and we have an even split nationwide in reps- but- Republicans dominate the majority of states – and state legislatures. Article 5 allows for two ways to amend the constitution, 2/3 vote in house and senate to propose an amendment , or 2/3 of state legislatures proposing at a convention. Then it has to be voted on by 3/4 the states (38).

    We nominate Republicans committed to the vote, and ram our proposed amendments through at the convention. Then later they are voted on by the states. We need to control 38 states, currently we have 61/100 chambers so we’d need at least 14 more. We should get closer with the coming red wave in 2022.

    My proposed amendments:

    1- repeal 17th amendment to give power back to states.

    2- ban all federal and state unions.

    3- balanced budget amendment indexed to income from prior year

    4- flat tax rate

    5- reduce the power of President executive orders

    6- eliminate several departments (education)

    7- ban crt in public schools

    Thank you for the work.  Easy to nit-pick, so I don’t flatter myself that I’m contributing much.  Just the same, these are picked nits:

    I agree with some commenters that any CC would be a disaster.  This is not new; I’ve thought so for decades.  God forbid we open that box.  Good and hard etc.

    1 – 17th: YES!  The Restoration.
    2 – Govt Unions: This should be do-able, given a large enough majority.  A strong case can be made that this is tied with the original purpose of the Constitution.  As with many things, we found out the hard way that some of the Founders’ assumptions about intent were only good for about a hundred years.  Sometimes two.  (And it’s obvious on its face — even FDR thought this was a bridge too far, and a genuinely bad idea on the merits)
    3 – BBA: Ditto
    4 – Flat Tax: Ditto
    5 – Nerf EOs: YES! I realize that this is playing with fire, but it’s already burning us crispy.
    6 – Eliminate departments: Do this by specifying which departments shall remain.
    7 – CRT: Whack-a-mole.  Too easy to re-name, and if you try to describe it instead, you wind up with existing amendments.  It already is banned if several of our amendments mean anything.

    • #160
  11. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    here was not for segregation: it is returning now

    If you think some race obsessed losers in progressive colleges making “minority only spaces” for people is anything compared to white and black water fountains, bathrooms, restaurants, public transportation etc. then you fundamentally aren’t serious.

    Oh, but it is “anything compared to.” It is a re-awakening, a re-legitimizing, of the idea that skin color is a valid determinant of treatment and status.

    You’re missing the point. I said that there is no ultimate victory. And I pointed out that we continue to engage precisely those issues, but now in nascent form.

    I’ll say it again: in a free nation, the fight against illiberal ideas is continuous; it waxes and wanes, but it’s never over.

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    other than tearing down the conservative party

    They aren’t a conservative party. They conserve nothing.

    They aren’t as conservative as I’d like, but they are the conservative party.

    There are two viable parties in America. The Republican Party is the more conservative of the two: they are the conservative party. The suggestion that some make that the two parties are effectively the same is an expression of frustration, not of reality. Reality is a party-line division on any number of pieces of critical, potentially transformative legislation.

    I’ve responded elsewhere to your “they haven’t conserved anything,” which is another sweeping but superficial claim. And I’ve pointed out elsewhere that comparing the party to some imagined ideal of conservatism doesn’t make sense. We have two viable parties, and if we fail to support the more conservative one the more progressive one will accelerate its dismantling of our institutions.

    • #161
  12. GlenEisenhardt Coolidge
    GlenEisenhardt
    @GlenEisenhardt

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    The Republican Party is the more conservative of the two

    I reject this premise. They’re not more conservative they are less progressive. That is a major difference. If you call yourself a baker but don’t bake anything you aren’t a baker. If you call yourself a Christian but don’t believe in Christ you aren’t a Christian. If you call yourself a comedian but don’t make anyone laugh you aren’t a comedian. And if you call yourself a conservative and conserve nothing you aren’t a conservative. They haven’t rolled back one New Deal initiative, haven’t rolled back any of the Great Society, didn’t stop the sexual revolution, haven’t secured the border, didn’t stop gay marriage, currently aren’t stopping transgender politics even amongst children, couldn’t defund planned parenthood, haven’t ended abortion anywhere in this country, haven’t cut a dime of federal spending, haven’t reduced the debt, haven’t eliminated one federal agency, department, or job. What exactly are they conserving? You may be fine with this. I am not. I think they are awful grifters. And they have to earn my vote. They never have earned it. The Democrats have gotten me up to vote against them because they are relentless. The GOP can’t do much except not be them at the present moment. 

    • #162
  13. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    The Republican Party is the more conservative of the two

    I reject this premise. They’re not more conservative they are less progressive.

    Sophistry. There is a continuum between extreme radicalism at one end and extreme conservatism at the other. Most of America is closer to the middle, leaning slightly right. The Republican Party is right of that middle; the Democratic Party is left of that middle. (In each party, I think the body of its members is to the right of the party’s leadership.)

    But I’ll play the silly word game. Replace “more conservative” with “less progressive” if you like. The argument is still the same: you have two choices, in terms of winning national races: the more progressive or the less progressive party. There is no other choice, and attempting to create another choice will guarantee the more progressive party victory after victory.

    Contrary to the facile equations too often made, the two parties are not the same. One need only look at the voting records of their members to figure that out.

    • #163
  14. GlenEisenhardt Coolidge
    GlenEisenhardt
    @GlenEisenhardt

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    The Republican Party is the more conservative of the two

    I reject this premise. They’re not more conservative they are less progressive.

    Sophistry. There is a continuum between extreme radicalism at one end and extreme conservatism at the other. Most of America is closer to the middle, leaning slightly right. The Republican Party is right of that middle; the Democratic Party is left of that middle. (In each party, I think the body of its members is to the right of the party’s leadership.)

    But I’ll play the silly word game. Replace “more conservative” with “less progressive” if you like. The argument is still the same: you have two choices, in terms of winning national races: the more progressive or the less progressive party. There is no other choice, and attempting to create another choice will guarantee the more progressive party victory after victory.

    Contrary to the facile equations too often made, the two parties are not the same. One need only look at the voting records of their members to figure that out.

    The middle? The middle is more left than George McGovern, FDR, Jimmy Carter and leftists of the past ever were. That’s the problem. And I never said the parties were the same. One enacts its vision. The other is essentially worthless and is only good for catching our breath when they aren’t cementing the left’s gains because they have no vision of their own. 

    • #164
  15. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):
    The Republican Party is the more conservative of the two

    I reject this premise. They’re not more conservative they are less progressive.

    Sophistry. There is a continuum between extreme radicalism at one end and extreme conservatism at the other. Most of America is closer to the middle, leaning slightly right. The Republican Party is right of that middle; the Democratic Party is left of that middle. (In each party, I think the body of its members is to the right of the party’s leadership.)

    But I’ll play the silly word game. Replace “more conservative” with “less progressive” if you like. The argument is still the same: you have two choices, in terms of winning national races: the more progressive or the less progressive party. There is no other choice, and attempting to create another choice will guarantee the more progressive party victory after victory.

    Contrary to the facile equations too often made, the two parties are not the same. One need only look at the voting records of their members to figure that out.

    The middle? The middle is more left than George McGovern, FDR, Jimmy Carter and leftists of the past ever were. That’s the problem. And I never said the parties were the same. One enacts its vision. The other is essentially worthless and is only good for catching our breath when they aren’t cementing the left’s gains because they have no vision of their own.

    Trump and the GOP did manage to cut taxes in the 2017-2018 Congress.  Also, there have been state “right to work” laws that have been enacted by GOP governers and legislatures.  

    That said, I agree that American politics has been moving to the Left on numerous issues.  Entitlement reform isn’t talked about much by either Republicans or Democrats.  Instead the Democrats are talking about expanding entitlements, even as our current entitlement programs are driving the United States towards a future similar to that of Argentina’s or worse, Venezuela’s.   

    • #165
  16. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):
    The middle? The middle is more left than George McGovern, FDR, Jimmy Carter and leftists of the past ever were.

    I don’t think so. Of course, it depends which issues you pick. I don’t think the middle is very far left on trans issues, or CRT, or radical sex education in the classroom, or open borders, or defunding the police, or socialism.

    • #166
  17. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    GlenEisenhardt (View Comment):
    The middle? The middle is more left than George McGovern, FDR, Jimmy Carter and leftists of the past ever were.

    I don’t think so. Of course, it depends which issues you pick. I don’t think the middle is very far left on trans issues, or CRT, or radical sex education in the classroom, or open borders, or defunding the police, or socialism.

    The middle seems all for these. 

    • #167
  18. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot) Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patriot)
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I appreciate the discussion here, folks.  I have an observation about the Trump/Never Trump division.  I’d like to see this rift healed, to the extent possible.

    For those who might not know — and how anyone could have missed my opinions here is beyond me — I was a Trump skeptic and opponent during the 2016 primaries, voted for him reluctantly in 2016, and became an increasingly strong supporter over his four years in office.

    I have a somewhat different view of the new split in the GOP.  I agree with Hank’s point, if I understand him correctly, that the GOP needs to be a big tent.  There’s a tentpole in the center of that tent, so to speak.  Trump moved the tent pole.

    This drew some new people into the GOP, and alienated some who had already been in the party.  The main moves that Trump made were:

    1. A tougher stance on illegal immigration
    2. A less interventionist foreign policy
    3. Some degree of protectionism on foreign trade
    4. Reduced concern with fiscal restraint

    This appealed to a number of previously disaffected voters, who hadn’t seen a message like this since Perot and Buchanan.  On the other hand, it was a change that would, understandably, be tough to accept for some prior GOP voters, like the National Review folks.

    My own preference, and suggestion, is that we avoid recriminations and try to work together.  Hank, I appreciate your efforts in this direction.  If there’s anything that I can do to help, let me know.

    • #168
  19. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    The main moves that Trump made were:

    1. A tougher stance on illegal immigration
    2. A less interventionist foreign policy
    3. Some degree of protectionism on foreign trade
    4. Reduced concern with fiscal restraint

    This appealed to a number of previously disaffected voters, who hadn’t seen a message like this since Perot and Buchanan.  On the other hand, it was a change that would, understandably, be tough to accept for some prior GOP voters, like the National Review folks.

    And a bit more spine on judges. And deregulation.

    Which made Trump relatively good on the debt, though still lousy.

    • #169
  20. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I appreciate the discussion here, folks. I have an observation about the Trump/Never Trump division. I’d like to see this rift healed, to the extent possible.

    For those who might not know — and how anyone could have missed my opinions here is beyond me — I was a Trump skeptic and opponent during the 2016 primaries, voted for him reluctantly in 2016, and became an increasingly strong supporter over his four years in office.

    I have a somewhat different view of the new split in the GOP. I agree with Hank’s point, if I understand him correctly, that the GOP needs to be a big tent. There’s a tentpole in the center of that tent, so to speak. Trump moved the tent pole.

    This drew some new people into the GOP, and alienated some who had already been in the party. The main moves that Trump made were:

    1. A tougher stance on illegal immigration
    2. A less interventionist foreign policy
    3. Some degree of protectionism on foreign trade
    4. Reduced concern with fiscal restraint

    This appealed to a number of previously disaffected voters, who hadn’t seen a message like this since Perot and Buchanan. On the other hand, it was a change that would, understandably, be tough to accept for some prior GOP voters, like the National Review folks.

    My own preference, and suggestion, is that we avoid recriminations and try to work together. Hank, I appreciate your efforts in this direction. If there’s anything that I can do to help, let me know.

    Do we really think that “reduced concern with fiscal restraint” qualifies as a “move”?  As opposed to a disregard for sound policy in a battle that was deemed not worth fighting?  To me, that’s a lack of policy, not a policy. 

    For the record, I’ve been won over–at least temporarily–on #3 so there is plenty of room for common ground.

    • #170
  21. HeavyWater Reagan
    HeavyWater
    @HeavyWater

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

    I appreciate the discussion here, folks. I have an observation about the Trump/Never Trump division. I’d like to see this rift healed, to the extent possible.

    I think much of this is dependent on the 2024 Republican presidential nominee.  If the GOP nominates Trump in 2024, Trump can still win, but he would have to win despite the Trump/Never Trump division you speak of.  If, say, Tom Cotton were the 2024 GOP nominee, I think the Trump/Never Trump could be at least papered over temporarily, but perhaps not completely healed.

     

    • #171
  22. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    I absolutely refuse to break bread with anyone who voted for Biden. As long as Never Trump remains Never Trump there can be no peace. They were wrong. Period. Forgiveness requires repentance.

     

    • #172
  23. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I absolutely refuse to break bread with anyone who voted for Biden. As long as Never Trump remains Never Trump there can be no peace. They were wrong. Period. Forgiveness requires repentance.

    I’m not arguing too strenuously, but an NT Biden voter is less forgivable than an NT no voter.  I get the whole binary choice thing but that’s how I’ve always felt.

    • #173
  24. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I absolutely refuse to break bread with anyone who voted for Biden. As long as Never Trump remains Never Trump there can be no peace. They were wrong. Period. Forgiveness requires repentance.

    I’m not arguing too strenuously, but an NT Biden voter is less forgivable than an NT no voter. I get the whole binary choice thing but that’s how I’ve always felt.

     

     

    Levels of sin

    • #174
  25. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I’m not arguing too strenuously, but an NT Biden voter is less forgivable than an NT no voter.  I get the whole binary choice thing but that’s how I’ve always felt.

    I made the same arguments in 2016. I could understand a Republican who looked at Hillary v. Trump and just abstained from voting. But I can’t understand the Republicans who looked at Hillary v. Trump and voted for Hillary.

    Same thing in 2020, only switch Biden for Hillary.

    But you know who did that proudly in both 2016 and 2020?

    Former Presidents Bush and Bush, and Loser Candidates McCain and Romney. Supposedly our Republican standard-bearers.

    Now convince me that people like that are on our side. Because I’m not buying it.

    • #175
  26. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I’m not arguing too strenuously, but an NT Biden voter is less forgivable than an NT no voter. I get the whole binary choice thing but that’s how I’ve always felt.

    I made the same arguments in 2016. I could understand a Republican who looked at Hillary v. Trump and just abstained from voting. But I can’t understand the Republicans who looked at Hillary v. Trump and voted for Hillary.

    Same thing in 2020, only switch Biden for Hillary.

    But you know who did that proudly in both 2016 and 2020?

    Former Presidents Bush and Bush, and Loser Candidates McCain and Romney. Supposedly our Republican standard-bearers.

    Now convince me that people like that are on our side. Because I’m not buying it.

    I don’t have a strong opinion here, but I think ’16 and ’20 are different animals because of the amount of knowledge (small) we had about Trump in ’16.  

    • #176
  27. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    I absolutely refuse to break bread with anyone who voted for Biden. As long as Never Trump remains Never Trump there can be no peace. They were wrong. Period. Forgiveness requires repentance.

    I’m pretty close to being in agreement with you on this one, Bryan. I’m willing to see bridges burned between Republicans/conservatives and any Republican who actually campaigned for Biden. (What goes on in the voting booth is their business.) I’d sooner welcome a Democrat or independent who voted for Biden and now wants to support a Republican alternative than a Republican who worked against the party in 2020.

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):
    For those who might not know — and how anyone could have missed my opinions here is beyond me — I was a Trump skeptic and opponent during the 2016 primaries, voted for him reluctantly in 2016, and became an increasingly strong supporter over his four years in office.

    My position exactly. And thanks for your larger comment.

    I liked your moving-the-tent-pole visual. One thing that Trump did that I think was both potentially huge and uncharacteristic of presidential candidates of either party was broadly push back against the press. I think that, if this is emulated by other Republicans, it will be one of the most important changes to come out of the Trump presidency. As evidenced in this comment thread, people would like a Republican Party that hits harder and is less… agreeable. I’ll second that view. Trump gave us a taste of that, and I’d like to see more pushback — including pushback even more skillfully conducted.

    • #177
  28. DrewInWisconsin, Oaf Member
    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf
    @DrewInWisconsin

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I’m not arguing too strenuously, but an NT Biden voter is less forgivable than an NT no voter. I get the whole binary choice thing but that’s how I’ve always felt.

    I made the same arguments in 2016. I could understand a Republican who looked at Hillary v. Trump and just abstained from voting. But I can’t understand the Republicans who looked at Hillary v. Trump and voted for Hillary.

    Same thing in 2020, only switch Biden for Hillary.

    But you know who did that proudly in both 2016 and 2020?

    Former Presidents Bush and Bush, and Loser Candidates McCain and Romney. Supposedly our Republican standard-bearers.

    Now convince me that people like that are on our side. Because I’m not buying it.

    I don’t have a strong opinion here, but I think ’16 and ’20 are different animals because of the amount of knowledge (small) we had about Trump in ’16.

    Didn’t matter to the Bushes, McCains, and Romneys did it? They stuck to the Democrats.

    • #178
  29. Franco Member
    Franco
    @Franco

    DrewInWisconsin, Oaf (View Comment):

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    I’m not arguing too strenuously, but an NT Biden voter is less forgivable than an NT no voter. I get the whole binary choice thing but that’s how I’ve always felt.

    I made the same arguments in 2016. I could understand a Republican who looked at Hillary v. Trump and just abstained from voting. But I can’t understand the Republicans who looked at Hillary v. Trump and voted for Hillary.

    Same thing in 2020, only switch Biden for Hillary.

    But you know who did that proudly in both 2016 and 2020?

    Former Presidents Bush and Bush, and Loser Candidates McCain and Romney. Supposedly our Republican standard-bearers.

    Now convince me that people like that are on our side. Because I’m not buying it.

    Yeah. The losers in this one are the Bushes the Romney’s and that faction of Republicans. It’s pretty clear to me they have all lost their place in the GOP hence their Liz Cheney-like behavior. Spoiled elites now take their masks off.  I have zero respect for them and anyone who supports their agenda. 
    It goes beyond policy disagreements. Back in 2010, and before, I thought I agreed with these people generally on policy but that we had a disagreement over strategy and tactics. Well, it turns out they never really had much passion for the agenda I wanted and they still are a disaster when it comes to political savvy. 

    So while I may agree generally with Henry’s policy preferences, I disagree with his strategy and political assessment. 

    I do not want these people in our party let alone in some influential place in it. 

    I’m also talking about voters. Soccer moms can be replaced easily by working class whites, blacks and Hispanics. Let them watch The View all day long and vote for Democrats -you can’t fix stupid. If our party tries to pander to this type of person they are doomed – as we saw in 2008 and 2012. It was fully proven out in 2016. There are plenty of people who can be brought into this tent, once you excise the corporate whores who may or may not vote D, the war hawks and the Chamber of Commerce sell-outs the agenda has more appeal to the working middle class. 

    We were right, and the GOPe is incensed because they were proven wrong. DJT won in 2020 also, by the way…and Epstein didn’t kill himself, and our intelligence agencies are corrupted. These are simple observations. 

    • #179
  30. Henry Racette Member
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    At some point it might be wise to look forward, rather than backward.

    Virginia is looking very good for Republicans tonight. Because I think the parties really are quite different, I think this is very good news, and I’m delighted.

    • #180
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